It's seminary application time, so…

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  • #610761

    I know that this thread will likely get hijacked like so many other “seminary” threads do, but I am hoping I can info on a few particularly seminaries before that happens.

    We are looking into seminaries for an out-of-town Bais Yaakov girl, who is very shtark, highly academic, and who has an outgoing and fun personality (perhaps slightly wacky even). She definitely wants an academically challenging program, as she is both strong in textual skills as well as adept at conceptual thinking. I would be interested in any suggestions but the ones we definitely would like to hear about are:

    Binas Bais Yaakov

    Bnos Sarah

    Machon Raaya

    Mesoras Rochel

    I know that much depends on the year and she will call friends who are at these seminaries, but any information on recent experiences would be most helpful. As an aside, I did not include BJJ on the list simply because I am pretty confident that what there is to know about BJJ we already know and thus did not want to bother the group with another seminary.

    Thank you in advance.

    #995187
    todahrabba
    Participant

    I highly recommend Bnos Sara. Went there 5 yrs ago. It has a more out of town, warm environment. It’s smaller in size and you felt like the hanhala was there for you and were always available. Girls were really solid and knew how to have fun. Not too much homework but a few ten page reports in hebrew. It’s on the Neve campus with other seminaries so you get to meet all kinds of girls and possibly be involved in kiruv. Based on how you describe this girl, bnos sara would be a great choice. Hatzlocha!

    #995188
    M
    Participant

    I’m not sure whether you would consider a non-Chareidi place, but I cannot say enough good things about Migdal Oz, a beautiful seminary located in Gush Etzion. It is a relatively large place that attracts very intelligent and inspired, motivated girls, mostly from dati le’umi backgrounds, but not exclusively. I have not seen another seminary with as strong a faculty as this place. They are given three meals a day there, which is something that not all seminaries can claim. Moreover, they are located outside of Yerushalayim, which provides students with an ability to focus on their studies. The majority of the girls are Israeli, though there is a sizable group of Americans and other foreign students. If you are interested I can tell you more about this place. As someone who learned in yeshiva for many years, and as a father, it is a very inspiring place to which I would love to send my daughter one day. I think they have a website with information about the place, and maybe also a short video.

    #995189

    Thanks M. The place sounds wonderful, but we are really looking at Bais Yaakov/chareidi seminaries. She is very much a Bais Yaakov girl and that is where she will feel most confortable and where her hashkafos are. But I very much appreciate the suggestion.

    #995190
    SYM
    Member

    I went to Migdal Oz a few years ago! It really is a wonderful place, one of a kind. The Beit Midrash is beautiful, and it overlooks Gush Etzion. Migdal Oz offers a very high level of learning, and spending a year there is a truly humbling experience. The head of Migdal Oz is Esti Rosenberg, Rav Lichtenstein’s daughter. She is an exceptional role model for frum women. The Israelis there are very nice, and I always had someplace to go to for Shabbos 🙂

    #995191

    Appreciate that but before this thread gets hijacked by friends of Migdal Oz 🙂 , I really am looking for information on:

    Binas Bais Yaakov

    Bnos Sarah

    Machon Raaya

    Mesoras Rochel

    Thanks!

    #995192
    M
    Participant

    Sorry!! Didn’t mean to steer this thread in the wrong direction. The only thing I can say is that from what you wrote, it sounds like your daughter will thrive in whichever seminary she ends up. May she have much bracha wherever she chooses to study.

    That said, I hope lots more people post information about those four places. Good luck!!

    #995193
    frumgirl93
    Member

    From the descprition of your daughter(?) it sounds like machon raaya would be a good fit for her. It is academic, out of town-y, and i think its less stuffy than other seminaries. Another recomendation would be michalah which is highly academic,and very shtark girls go there who are more open minded from bais yaakovs and non bais yaakovs but all the girls that go there are ultra frum nontheless. It is very interesting classes that are challenging but the work load itself is set up for you to still have a fun enjoyable year. Machon Raaya is known to be a ‘bais yaakov michlala” so if she specifically wants to go to a bais yaakov this is a good option! Good luck:)

    #995194
    wallflower
    Participant

    When is the application deadline this year?

    #995195

    Thanks, frumgirl93. We had heard that that was what Machon Raaya was like its first few years. I know it has grown substantially in the last couple of years and we had heard that it became far more “in-town” if you will. Do you know if that is the case? In other words, is there really much of a difference any longer between Machon Raaya and Bnos sarah or Mesoras Rochel?

    #995196

    Not sure. Perhaps November? I wanted to get a jump on things. 🙂

    #995197
    todahrabba
    Participant

    There will always be some differences, but I believe bnos sara is the least in towny of the 3.

    #995198
    happymommy
    Member

    I just went through this last year so if you have specific questions I will be happy to let you know what I found out.

    #995199

    Wait, you went through this last year and you’re already a happy mommy? Are you rich, or is the shidduch crisis overblown?

    #995200
    happymommy
    Member

    Just trying to help what’s the bad attitude for? I’m grateful to be a mother. What does my name have to do with the seminary question?

    #995201

    if you were an applicant to seminary last year, and you are now a happy mommy, then you must have gotten married quickly. that is all.

    #995202
    YW Moderator-73
    Moderator

    I’m guessing that her daughter was the applicant in question…

    #995204

    I’m also guessing that veltz was simply being sarcastically funny….In any event, I guess my specific questions would be:

    1. What are the differences, as you perceive them, between the 4 seminaries listed?

    2. Which are the most academically challenging and in what ways are they academically challenging?

    3. Are the seminaries more text-based or more “outside of the sefer”? The girl in question has very strong teiching skills and is an abstract thinker and wantes to learn inside and not just be spoon-fed material. At the same time, serious and challenging machshava oriented classes would thrill her as well.

    4. Some seminaries have the reputation of beign academic by giving a lot of work but much of that work is seen as busy work. What is the case with these seminaries?

    5. What type of girl does each seminary attract?

    6. How close of a relationship do the girls have with the teachers/hanhala (a) while they are in EY and (b) after they leave seminary? Saying a place is “warm”, is not too descriptive. I am interested in how that warmth manifests itself.

    I think these are a good start.

    Thanks!

    #995205
    happymommy
    Member

    Those are great questions.I feel that Binas Bais Yaakov and Bnos Sara tend to have very similar girls. Smart, fun, academically strong. Bnos Sara is probably a little more inside learning. That’s not to say Binas is not, they are very focused on inside learning ,but they do have a strong hashkafa program as well. Most girls who apply to Bnos Sara also apply to BJJ. Binas has many girls who applied to BJJ as well ,but a lot of them also applied to nachlas, and a bunch to Bnos Sara. So you’re looking in the right group from what I understand of your daughter.

    Machon Raaya is probably the most academic of all the schools. The girls seem like they are always working, yet they do seem happy. I think the difference is that the girls in Machon Raaya may come from homes where they have a little more leeway than a typical yeshivish family ,but they are all growing wonderful girls.

    Mesoras Rochel is a great academic seminary. The diffence with this one is that the girls seem to be the class leader types and come from yeshivish families.

    I think the seminaries are all trying to have a closer relationship with their students now. Most do a pretty good job. I would say each of the ones you have mentioned accomplish that quite well.

    What did you mean by how does the warmth manifest itself? Hope this helped.

    #995206

    Thank you very much. That was quite informative. To clarify my question, let me explain. Boys have Rabbaim and even once they leave a particular Yeshiva, may keep a close connection with some of the Rabbaim. as they say, the boys are “shoel aitza” from them. Some seminaries, the closeness manifests itself in that the girls feel comfortable calling their teachers or even popping over at times. At some seminaries, that is not done. And other seminaries, the teachers keep a close connection even after the girls leave seminary, to the extent that the girls also have someone from whom they be “shoeles aitza.” I was curious where on that spectrum the various seminaries we are discussing lie.

    #995207
    Shanifirst
    Member

    Go to Peninim if you want to tour all over Israel and want to learn half day and learn how to do sheitels and cut hair.

    #995208

    Okay, so back to the discussion. Any further experience/knowledge about:

    Binas Bais Yaakov

    Bnos Sarah

    Machon Raaya

    Mesoras Rochel

    Am interested in general impressions, but also about the following:

    1. What are the differences, as you perceive them, between the 4 seminaries listed?

    2. Which are the most academically challenging and in what ways are they academically challenging?

    3. Are the seminaries more text-based or more “outside of the sefer”? The girl in question has very strong teiching skills and is an abstract thinker and wantes to learn inside and not just be spoon-fed material. At the same time, serious and challenging machshava oriented classes would thrill her as well.

    4. Some seminaries have the reputation of beign academic by giving a lot of work but much of that work is seen as busy work. What is the case with these seminaries?

    5. What type of girl does each seminary attract?

    6. How close of a relationship do the girls have with the teachers/hanhala (a) while they are in EY and (b) after they leave seminary? Saying a place is “warm”, is not too descriptive. I am interested in how that warmth manifests itself.

    Thank you!

    #995209

    Any help with the following seminaries would be greatly appreciated:

    Binas Bais Yaakov

    Bnos Sarah

    Machon Raaya

    Mesoras Rochel

    Thanks

    #995210
    apushatayid
    Participant

    “It’s seminary application time, so… “

    Send your application fees to me. When I reject you, I will send back half. That is more than all the other rejection notices will net you combined.

    #995211

    All I can say about Bnos Sara is that when I was a madricha on Neve campus, all the girls came over to me and said “if that (pointing to a Bnos Sara girl) is what being religious means and that how is how they act then I want to become religious”….nuff said

    #995212

    Very nice, thanks

    #995213

    Any help available?

    #995214
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Look into B’nos Deshe.

    #995215
    loveparty
    Member

    Ive heard Binas beis Yaakov is an upcoming BJJ/mesoras rochel, is that true???

    #995216

    So far I have heard that the most academically rigorous are BJJ, Machon Raaya and possibly Bnos Sarah. Someone told us that Mesores Rochel, while academic, was not quite as hard. I have heard Binas is a drop down academically (relative speaking) but all of this is hearsay. Would love to hear from parents who actually sent their daughters to these places. Yes, my daughter wants to be academically challenged.

    #995217

    I went to Machon Raaya recently. It seems that I looked into similar seminaries as the girl that you are describing is. I am also from out-of-own and (I hope!) fairly shtark, and quite wacky!

    My favorite thing about Machon Raaya was its excellent teachers. I really enjoyed the classes. I found them to be very intellectually stimulating, very textually based, and inspiring without being fluffy. They do have a uniquely open-minded staff. We had one teacher who only teaches in Michlala and Machon Raaya because he does believe in many of the other BY seminaries hashkafa. I would say that many of our teachers were atypical and discussed things that they would not discuss in other BY seminaries they teach in (although I can’t say that for sure). The principal, Mrs. Rosenbloom really appreciates smart out-of-towners who can think for themselves. Both in class and out-of-class were full of atypical debates and hashkafic discussions which usually involved girls pulling out sefarim from the library shelves.

    The teachers in Machon Raaya will not chase you. If you want to have a relationship with them, you have to work for it. You also do have the option to become close with the hanhala. Many took these opportunities, many did not. There are some teachers that everyone gravitates to and become close with and there are those that are harder to reach. But, you do have the ability. I know girls who talk to teachers and aim bayits still. Personally, I have not, but iy”H when life’s exciting things happen/ I get engaged, I will feel comfortable calling them. On a similar note, if I have difficulty with something, I would feel comfortable calling a couple of them. I did go to many of my teachers and my principal for Shabbos- and felt very comfortable doing that. It really depends on your daughters personality.

    They do attract a wide range of girls- at least my year. I had a group of friends who are super shtark, committed girls who definitely left more shtark than they came in. And, I would say that their development and commitments were real. Both among ourselves and with teachers we would discuss and debate. In general, they were more yeshivish than their families. There was also a large group who were less into growing the same way- though they also grew. This year, there are 100 kids- more than half are from very in-town communities. Some of those girls are really shtark, most considered themselves sooo atypical, but to me they seemed like pretty typical Brooklyners. I am an out-of-towner after all! All are smart and worker hard. A good way to find out what kind of girls go, are to find out what the other schools they applied to were. My friends also applied to Bnos Sarah, BJJ, Mesores Rochel, and Michlala. Other places girls applied to were Nachlas, Meohr, Seminar, Bnos Chava, Binas, etc.

    And, I cannot forget the location. Being in Geulah was amazing. We were enough out of it that I did not feel claustrophobic, but three minutes away was a fascinating neighborhood. I loved walking the back streets of Meah Shearim, and the Old City is less than half an hour walk. Protests weekly, controversial signs, great Shabbos gifts, dynamic neighbors, unusual places to daven- truly a remarkable location.

    At both schools, she will have to work hard. Make sure that her skills are up to par, though if she needs help, I know that Mahcon Raaya will help her.

    Binas is academic, but it is known to be more hashkafic than textual. It may be more fluffy- though that may speak to her. She will probably not get the same rigorous acadmics and the girls that come along with that. It also is more yeshivish. I do not know so many girls who went there.

    Mesores Rochel is known for its rigorous academics. It is also very in-towny. I doubt that there will not be many out-of-the box thinkers. I do not know much it about it, though.

    I did not feel like I was doing busy-work generally. If there was some, it was minimal. Yes, the classes were very textual, but they had a lot of solid machshava. Machon Raaya does not believe in forcing ideas on you- they do not have a “type” that they want the girls to come out as. They truly believe in individuality. For example, never did a teacher say that our husbands must learn in Kollel forever, rather we often discussed the value of Torah and the ways to have it permeate our lives. Machon Raaya has a very good balance of text based learning and machshava. Also, they have an elective system, so while girls have to take all of the morning classes, they do not have to take all of the afternoon ones, rather they set their own schedule. Besides for the freedom that it offers, it also means that a girl can take the classes she connect with.

    If your daughter goes to Machon Raaya, she will probably find a group like her and have passionate, intense conversations (that is what we did in Machon Raaya!) and a lot of fun, crazy, shtark out-of-towners – though these girls will probably not be the majority of the seminary. She will have a great group of diverse teachers and she will learn a lot-both inside the sefer and out.

    I hope this helped and Hatzlacha!

    #995218

    That is helpful. Hopefully, those with personal experiences at the other seminaries (even BJJ) will also post.

    Thank you very much.

    #995219
    potpie
    Member

    “[Bnos Sarah] is really hard to get into – you can really only get in with push. So if you want her in, prepare to have many phone calls made.”

    Speaking from personal experience, this is not true. If you deserve to be in Bnos Sarah, you will get in without making a single phone call. It could be that some people use protektzia, but that’s true for every seminary. Most girls get into Bnos Sarah on their own merit.

    #995220

    Putting aside the phone call issue, so what type of girl does Bnos Sarah cater to? And how is that girl different from someone that would go to Mesores Rochel or BJJ?

    #995221

    So what type of girl does Bnos Sarah cater to? And how is that girl different from someone that would go to Mesores Rochel or BJJ? What girls are best suited to those seminaries?

    #995222
    keepitcoming
    Member

    bnos sara is aidel out of town yeshivish. mesores rochel is baaleh batish “yeshivish” intowny. bjj is random mix but very acedemic.

    #995223

    Fair enough. Does the “seminary experience” differ in all of these places? If so, how?

    #995224
    keepitcoming
    Member

    im really pro binas.. i know the staff great ppl. very frum yet openminded academic yeshivish.

    it all depends if the girl is happy and if shes getting wat shes looking for

    #995225

    I’m in Machon Raaya this year. I came home for my brothers wedding and I remember when I was the one anxiously asking for information on here:) So basically if you have any specific questions about this years crowd then i can tell you. It’s quite bigger then last year even though it was not anticipated. It did become slightly different then years before, and it depends what your daughter wants. Machon Raaya is definitely a superb seminary for someone who belongs there. I can’t quite get a complete picture of how open your daughter is from your description but let me say this. The work is very interesting – not busy work but work that you need to use your head. A lot of hachana, deciphering meforshim, and challenging reports. The electives are brilliant and the way that girls can arrange their schedule is amazing. Mrs. Rosenblum is probably one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She cares about each girl in a way that I have never seen and she will go to any length to make a girl happy.

    The girls are all extremely impressive. They are smart, poised and confident but this year there are a nice amount of trendy/popular and partyish girls. They are all nice people but it might be a little less warm and friendly this year because of the amount of girls. It is not a yeshivish crowd but the girls are extremely solid. The girls are extremely open and there is no pressure to be something you are not which is beautiful. There are some seriously incredible girls there as far as middos and desire to grow. The girls are also mostly extremely out of the box. They love having a good time and although it is an academic seminary it is not a pressured environment. If your daughter is open then she will 100% find her crowd. But since its bigger it might take a little longer then it wold have in the past. If you have any specific questions about MR this year I would be happy to try to answer for you.

    #995226

    Here is my impression of the other three you mentioned – THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION from what I’ve seen

    Masores Rochel: (Big 100- 150) So I don’t know tons about this seminary but from what I’ve heard and the girls I’ve met this is my impression. It is very hard. Textual learning and a lot of work. Rebbetzin Tarshish is supposed to be unbelievable. It is a very in town seminary with an in town feel but it’s also quite yeshivish. They are pretty into their clothes and some would call it quite jappy. There is supposedly a lot of girls who had really good jobs in school and are quite popular. It’s supposedly a pretty high pressure place when it comes to peer pressure. If you are the type of girl that is not scared off by that dynamic and is the popular, smart in towner who comes from a pretty yeshivish background then I would say go for it.

    Binas: (Smallish – 60, 70 girls) It’s a new seminary so this is all speculative. The girls who I know who went there give me the impression that they are really nice girls but not especially open. I would call it the atypical, yeshivish girl who is insistent on having a mind of their own. The girls there also have personality, they are pretty loud – definitely not boring kids. But they are not the type to sit around and talk about culture. They are trying to be academic but I’m not sure what the work is like.

    Bnos Sarah: (Largish 90-100 girls) Bnos Sarah’s reputation has blasted over the last few years and it has become one of the hardest seminaries to get into. It has an extremely sweet and friendly reputation with girls who care about each other and have little peer pressure. It is very academic with a lot of work and classes in Hebrew but I think the learning is more like BJJ with a bit more memorizing and inspiring, beautiful classes then ultra intellectual and self taught learning. It is a very out of town environment with little to no peer pressure and girls who are very open minded but not ultra modern. The girls are in a few words: open, extremely sweet, spiritual and smart. It has a lot of work but it’s supposed to be interesting stuff

    #995227

    Thank you! And where/how would you classify BJJ compared to all of the those? Especially in terms of academics and girls. Also, how would you compare the “seminary experience” at these places?

    #995228
    writersoul
    Member

    “If you deserve to be in Bnos Sarah, you will get in without making a single phone call.”

    Sorry, but life doesn’t work that way. I have about ten girls in my grade applying to Bnos Sarah. I’d say that 99-100% of them “deserve” to be in Bnos Sarah. But logistics matter, and realistically, they probably won’t all get in.

    Sem is cutthroat. There’s really not so much “deserve” about it.

    Signed,

    A jaded high school senior

    #995229
    potpie
    Member

    That’s true of any seminary-more good girls apply than can be accepted. I was responding to the person who said that you can only get into Bnos Sarah if you use protektzia, and that’s not true. Does everyone who “deserves” to be in Bnos Sarah get in? That’s debatable. But most of the girls who do get into Bnos Sarah get in on their own merit. That’s all I meant.

    #995230

    What does hijacking a thread mean?

    #995231

    BJJ: (very big – 160,170 girls)Extremely academic. Very intellectual but their focus in not specifically on self taught learning. They like lectures but the lectures are supposed to be amazing. Quite a bit memorizing but supposed to be beautiful lessons. The common denominator is that the girls are all smart. There are girls from all backgrounds. They are all studious and conscientious and take their work seriously. But you will have girls who decided between BJJ and Michlalah but also girls who come from extremely frum and yeshivish houses. They have everything there. If your smart and enjoy brilliant lectures you can probably fit in there. Work is extremely hard though. A lot of hachana and busy work.

    #995232
    rabbit101
    Member

    insertusernamehere how would u describe the girls this year in machon raya is it a big mix and what is the mix ?

    #995233
    writersoul
    Member

    potpie: Understood- the way that was said is just a bit simplistic.

    #995234

    Hi.

    I’m very much interested in what people had to say about these places because I am applying to some of them and the other ones, I have friends applying to.

    Binas- from what I heard, Binas is a very warm environment. the learning is not so much text based even though they do have text based classes. it is more hashkafic and fluffy… The classes get the girls to think and are challenging but there is very limited homework and tests. not much more than a regular seminary. it is held in high esteem because of the amazing lessons given over by incredible teachers and it is academic very much so in that way. It is for a more “in the box” kind of girl. think the stereotypical sort of Bais Yaakov.Someone who grew up more exposed may not be so comfortable around the type of girls that Binas attracts.

    Mesores Rochel- the concept of mesores rochel is a little nauseating. It is a fabulous institution with incredible teachers, but the whole concept and what it has become is not so great. they take only the best girls, the sort of girls that come from those perfect homes and were chessed heads, and GO presidents with 110 averages. then those girls are all together in seminary so they must know they are the best but they are still highly competitive. the best you possible doesn’t really apply there. you have to be better than every one else. that sort of pressure is not easy to deal with for most people. however, the classes are very stimulating and there is an incredible amount of work.

    machon Raaya- it has become the “bais Yaakov” Michlala. it is highly highly intellectual. loads of work. the girls prepare many prakim of tanach by themselves and are quizzed on it. there are tons of classes. as much at it has a set hashkapha, it can get a bit confusing because every teacher is very different there and sort of giving the girls different messages. some girls prefer that because they ca independently decide what wort of life they would like to lead but for other girls, it can be very confusing. they have the most gorgeous dorm in the best location, geula. the teachers are all very smart and great lecturers but its up to the girls to build a kesher with them. they have an elective option where the girls can choose some of the classes they would like to take and they have an excepton “yerushalayim shel maaleh” program which involves more tiyulim than most seminaries and extra insights into the land. they are also very accommodating about Shabbos. they will cook shabbops meals for the girls if enough are staying in.

    Bnos Sarah- it is pretty small and very hard to get into. it is crazy academic and lots of work but the teachers are amazing and help make it all manageable. it is a very warm environment and lifelong koshers with the mechanchos can be made. The girls are very very solid good girls. they are immersed in torah and live their lives in that way. trust me, you can tell a bnos sarah girl from a mile away. its a certain quality… the girls all have a special chein. the best way to describe the girls there would be to call them “aidel”. they are not nerdy or out of towny. they are just more solid out of the box intelligent thinkers. they are all very nice.

    Helpful?

    #995235

    BJJ very large compared to most seminaries. the teachers are older and many find it hard to relate to them but still benefit from just being in their presence. there is a very wide range of girls there. they come from all different schools and backrounds but all have the same thing in common- theyre solid good girls who want to keep becoming better. there is a lot of work in Bjj but the reports have not change since BJJ first opened so anyone that went there can tell you how to do them. Bjj’s teachers design their tests so no girl should get an incredibly high mark. an 80% is considered amazing.. because they teach on a very high level. it is a great hashpaah to be in. the teachers may not seem so special until the middle of the year because they aren’t very relatable, but then youll start to gain when you realize how much just being around them changes you. the girls there gain a lot from being with the other girls. they are all in the same place striving for the same thing and that brings them together.

    #995236
    BachurTzvi
    Participant

    What about penninim seminary, I had a sister that went there and loved it the girls were soooo normal and the teachers didn’t brain wash you that your husband has to be in kollel for life…..believe it or not their are so many great amazing boys that don’t do kollel for more then 3,4,5, years and still build a true house of Torah and most important MIDOS..this applies for machon raaya also they are just soooo normal and have their heads screwed on straight.

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